INDIA – Himachal Pradesh a northern Indian state has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to establish an advanced automated milk processing plant.

The state-of-the-art facility, located in Dhagwar, Kangra, is set to have an initial capacity of 1.5 Lakh Litres Per Day (LLPD) with the potential for expansion up to 3 LLPD.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu announced the groundbreaking initiative, emphasizing its potential to contribute to the overall growth of the state.

The Dhagwar plant, operating as a fully automatic facility, is poised to produce a diverse range of dairy products, including curd, lassi, butter, ghee, paneer, flavoured milk, khoya, and mozzarella cheese.

The ambitious project, requiring an investment of ₹225 crore (US$27.09 million) in its first phase, is anticipated to bring prosperity to dairy farming communities across Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, and Una districts.

“It aims to directly purchase milk from local farmers, thereby playing a pivotal role in strengthening the rural economy.”

The Chief Minister highlighted the importance of transparency in milk procurement to ensure fair compensation for farmers.

An additional investment of ₹43 crore (US$5.1 million) has been allocated to fortify the milk procurement network, with a target to purchase 2.74 LLPD to sustain the plant’s operations.

Sukhu underscored the government’s commitment to the welfare of the dairy farming community, announcing a significant increase of ₹6 per litre in the milk procurement rate.

The rate has been raised from ₹32 (US$3.8 million) to ₹38 (US$4.5 million), reflecting the government’s dedication to enhancing the income of farmers. The Chief Minister also hinted at forthcoming schemes aimed at further uplifting the dairy farming sector.

The Dhagwar plant’s significance extends beyond the initial phase, as the government plans a second phase involving the production of milk powder, ice cream, and various types of cheese.

This forward-looking initiative aligns with the state’s vision of becoming a self-reliant entity, particularly considering that approximately 95% of the state’s population resides in rural areas.

The successful collaboration between Himachal Pradesh and NDDB is anticipated to set new standards in dairy production, providing economic opportunities for farmers, and contributing to the state’s progress as a leader in the dairy industry.

Msgr. Isaiah Mayombo, Chairperson of the Investment Committee, called for responsible management of funds, emphasizing the project’s direct engagement with the community. He stressed the need for a consolidated relationship with MSC to maximize the project’s impact.

Amon Tumusiime, a Relationship Officer and Focal Person for the LEGS project at MSC expressed optimism about the project’s success.

He noted that the KRC-Uganda model addresses the financial exclusion of many farmers due to a lack of security, aligning with the region’s deficit in milk collection.

Mohammed Ahmed Shariff, the Executive Director of KRC-Uganda, highlighted that the project’s conceptualization was informed by research, considering nutritional aspects and improved incomes for farmers with quality cows.

“The project aims to contribute to environmental sustainability by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and promoting biogas production,” he added.

“A specialized team will undergo training to adopt a private sector mindset to effectively implement the project. KRC-Uganda recognized nationally for its research, advocacy, and community development efforts, believes in empowering communities through a comprehensive understanding of their needs.”

The “Cash a Cow” project emerges as a holistic initiative to address economic, nutritional, and environmental challenges, reflecting KRC-Uganda’s commitment to community-driven development.

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